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Have you ever stressed about something that wasn't nearly as bad as your mind made it out to be? That's because you unconsciously manipulate your emotions to motivate yourself to take action. We’ve all done this since childhood — but that doesn’t mean it’s right.

When you manipulate yourself, it’s impossible to be happy when you’re poisoning yourself with nasty emotions and horror stories about your doomed future. But it’s never true.

What if you could motivate yourself without infecting your body with misery? Not only will you get more done, but you’ll experience a joy for life that you probably never experienced before.

In this episode, I reveal all the insidious ways you manipulate yourself and how to stop manipulating yourself so you can be uncomfortably happy.

Show highlights include:

  • How not taking action overloads your body with anxiety to unconsciously manipulate yourself (4:45)
  • The “Horror Stories Motivation Method” everyone is programmed with that costs you your sanity and peace (and how to motivate yourself without suffering) (5:16)
  • How “Mini Manipulations” nuke your joy (especially if you’re motivating yourself to finish a nagging business project) (6:28)
  • Why adding meaning to your life locks you in a cage of agony, stress, and emotional turmoil (7:09)
  • How to regain control over your nastiest emotions by simply driving your car (9:33)
  • The “One Question Antidote” that instantly banishes anxious, worried, and fearful thoughts from dominating your life (16:39)

If you want to radically change how much control you have over your emotions in as little as 20 days, you can go to https://thefreedomspecialist.com/feelbetternow and sign up for the Choose Your Own Emotion course.

If you or somebody you know is looking to drop the ‘F’ Bomb of freedom in your life and break free from addiction, depression, anxiety or anything that’s making you feel flat-out stuck, head over to https://thefreedomspecialist.com/ and book a call where we can look at your unique situation and give you the roadmap you’ve been missing.

If you’d like to buy a copy of my book, Is That Even Possible?: The Nuts and Bolts of Energy Healing for the Curious, Wary, and Totally Bewildered, you can find it on Amazon here: https://www.amazon.com/That-Even-Possible-Healing-Bewildered/dp/1512336041

Read Full Transcript

It's time to rip the cover off what really works to ditch addiction, depression, anger, anxiety, and all other kinds of human suffering. No, not sobriety. We're talking the F-word here: Freedom. We'll share, straight from the trenches, what we have learned from leaving our own addictions behind, and coaching hundreds of others to do the same—and since it's such a heavy topic, we might as well have a good time while we're at it. [00:27.6]

Bob: Well, welcome back to the Alive and Free Podcast. Today we're going to dance into the realm of manipulative madness. Yes, that's right folks, we're going to dance into the realm of manipulative madness to see all of the crazy little ways that you and I manipulate ourselves. And not too long ago, I was going through a kind of a three-day intensive kind of yoga training. And I was doing, it was meditative techniques and discussing around some of the yogic philosophy and things like that. And so, I was doing a lot of practices and whatnot, and it was live stream. It was live streamed on zoom because of course, you know, the year at the time of this recording is 2021. And there are still some effects of the COVID pandemic and things happening around the world. And on top of that, my teacher is in India and I'm in the U S and so it's nice that it's live-streamed, and I didn't have to fly all the way there. [01:26.2]

So, I'm doing this process at home and I'm in my office, which happens to be the third car garage that we built out to be an office, so that I'd have a place outside of the house to do these types of things and to have clients come and whatnot. And so, I'm sitting there and I'm going through this process and I'm in the middle of, I think the second day and it starts, and we're going through a sort of meditative process right in the middle of it, things get really quiet, and our eyes are closed. So, I'm meditating, whatnot, things are really quiet. But after a while, I'm thinking, Hmm, this is not, I mean, is this really? So, I opened my eyes. I disobeyed the command to keep my eyes closed. Yes, I know. Maybe I'm not the greatest student on the planet, whatever. So, I opened my eyes and I look, and I see that my computer has shut, has decided to update its software. And I see a big Apple logo on the screen, in the middle of this process cause it's later at night, I guess. And that's what, the time that my computer decided to do that. [02:30.6]

And so immediately what happens in my system, let's give you a play by play, shall we? I feel the first thought is, Oh crap. And there's a tension in my chest and my heart starts to beat a little more rapidly and a little gut bomb on the inside. Then come the worries. Oh my gosh, I'm not going to be able to finish this process. I hope he hasn't gone on without me. I got to figure this out. Then comes the frantic, like running to the house to find my phone so that I can get on zoom via my phone and set that up because the computer is not functioning any other way and I couldn't cancel it of the thing. Then comes the fact that the internet isn't working, because for some reason, the internet is very fickle at certain times, I guess, around where I'm at and it's not working and I hear myself, I'm like, dang it, dang it. And I'm saying these words out loud in the middle of this room to nobody in particular, and I'm going, come on, man, come on. And I'm feeling this victim mentality show up in my brains, flooding with those types of chemicals. And I'm feeling like, Oh man, I can't get anything right. Nothing ever works out for me. Have you ever had experiences like this, the computer reboots and automatically it's an existential crisis? [03:36.4]

If you haven't, well, I applaud you. That don't look for it, it's not a, it's not exactly life's most cherished experience. And so, I'm having this, like these fleeting thoughts and it's not debilitating, but I'm sitting there, and I finally get the phone up and I get the zoom thing on and it pulls up and it loads up the, the web stream that he's doing, and it still has the little sign on there that says, please keep your eyes closed. And so, I sit back down and my heart's thumping a bunch because I'd had to run around some, and I'd had all of the facial expressions of all the anger and everything else. But I sat back down, and I closed my eyes, and I continued the process, and I heard my teacher's voice come on and things moved forward. And so here I am, all of a sudden in the middle of the process, and this thought comes to me like, wow, the only action that was needed was for me to go get another device and hook it back up and be done. That action would have taken a minute tops. But instead of that, the first thing that I did instead of taking action was that I had trained myself over a lifetime to at first, come up with a catastrophic story about what was going to happen in the future and how nothing was going to work out. [05:01.3]

And that then produced tension patterns in my body, breath changes and a franticness in my system, which then allowed me the energy because I didn't like that. It manipulated me to get into action. Then I created more horror stories about the future. Anytime something didn't work, because I had learned throughout my life, that one effective way of motivating myself was to make myself feel miserable. Have you done this? Have you experienced this? How many little ways do you motivate yourself? Oh, I want to go to something. Well, I'm going to tell myself a story about how incredible and exciting it's going to be and how much good stuff is going to happen. And all of his great, wonderful, amazing excitement and feeling, that'll finally get me to go and do it. But I hate public speaking, Bob, I don't want to talk in public. Oh, but it's going to be so good for you. It's going to amazing. You're going to have a beautiful experience. And just as preparation is going to prepare you for so many things. And now you create all these stories in order to motivate you to take one action. And that action is literally to stand up in front of a few people, make noises with your throat and shape those noises with your tongue. [06:11.8]

That's how speech is made, tongue and lips, I guess. That's it. And yet how much emotional turmoil is created in order to motivate you not to do it. Oh, it's going to be a horrible experience or to motivate you to do it. Oh, it'll be amazing. These little mini manipulations are the hallmark of most of what I see happening in people's lives. When you have something happen to you, how long does it take for you to come up with some meaning about it? Adding meaning to something it's very a mean thing to do? Pardon the pun. It's a very mean thing to do. In fact, the average of things is called the Mean. Why? Because you've cut everything down to an average. You've gotten rid of all of its, its diversity and all of its differences. You've gotten rid of all of the variations that have come with it. And instead you've taken, taken all of them together and then you've cut them. That's a mean thing to do it. You and you have found the mean as a result. [07:09.8]

When you add meaning to life, there is also a mean thing to do, because what it does is then it causes your glands and your glandular function and your organs and your chemistry to start to have to shift. And it squeezes different juices out of them. Imagine you being a sponge and every time something happens that someone tells a story that's like squeezing the sponge and squeezing some juices out of it. That that's what you're doing. And as a result, you're having this emotional experience here and emotional experience there. And that emotional experiences are there to stimulate action so that you can change your environment and change things. And this is what I did while I was busy doing that meditative process. I was literally playing out perfectly a massive self-manipulation through negative emotion and through catastrophizing the future and through negative stories about what was going to happen and what it all meant about me. [08:06.8]

Now, have you seen yourself do that in your life? How many times have you gone through any event and look at it and decided what it means about you or decided that it means something or that you need to change your actions as a result of it and use your emotions, either your excitement and your happiness and whatnot, or negative emotions like joy and grief or sadness in order to manipulate. Not all emotions come out of manipulation. No, not at all. Sometimes genuine grief comes sometimes genuine sadness comes sometimes genuine happiness comes. I'm not talking about those times. I'm talking about all the other times where it has happened, that you've added this sort of emotional component, this meaning to things in order to manipulate yourself into taking action. Now that my friends is messed up, isn't it? When you could just take the action instead, you're taking this whole circuitous route of story making and emotional stuff and catastrophizing and future pacing and all the other stuff in order for you to take the one action that you could've just taken on its own. It's no wonder that at the end of the day, you and I are pretty darn tired, because how much of your day is spent calculating about the future, calculating what's going to happen in life and trying to get the most out of it. [09:26.8]

And it's that kind of calculation that is producing so much suffering in you and me and most of mankind. We're so busy trying to get things out of life to get it done, to get it right. We're so busy doing that, that we're not actually living the life that we could live. By that I mean, taking the actions that are there to be taken, that's it. When you're driving, you already do this beautifully. When you're driving down the road and somebody comes in front of you in a lane, it's natural for you to just look over change lanes and whatnot. On occasion, it's fearful or it's terrifying and on occasion you might get angry at another driver in order to justify some things or to release some energy that's built up. But more often than not, when you're driving down the road, you're just dealing with things that are there. You're not making meaning out of the fact that that car is white, and that person happened to look at you. And that person is taking a left turn and this one got in front of you and slowed down that person's brake lights on. Oh my gosh, the traffic light stop. Oh no, it's flashing now. Holy cow, that's a big semi-truck and it's going to take a wide turn. You're not sitting there and making meaning out of it unless of course you're late to a meeting. [10:29.3]

Which can happen, or you are like trying to fix somebody up or there's someplace you need to be, or there's a deadline. And then it's really easy for you to make meaning out of all of it, isn't it? And you are literally just poisoning yourself and using your environment in order to do it as an excuse to do it. And we do this all the time in order to manipulate certain actions. You're like, Oh, it's not working. I have to get something else to happen. Maybe if I make myself feel miserable, I'll come up with a genius idea. Did you know that that doesn't work very well? Yes, people get creative in life and death situations, but how often do you want to live in life and death situations? Honestly, really, truly, honestly, really, truly come on. [11:11.1]

If you or someone you know is looking to drop the F-bomb of “Freedom” in their life, whether that's from past trauma, depression, anxiety, addiction, or any other host of emotional and personal struggles, but they just don't know how or wants some help doing it. Head on over to thefreedomspecialist.com/feelbetternow and check out some of the things we've got in store for you or book a call so we can look at your unique situation and get you the help that you're looking for. [11:38.4]

So, take a step back and look at this, this calculation of needing to create meaning in what's happening in order to manipulate yourself into taking right actions. We've done this from the time we were kids. Our parents did this. And how many of you had your parents tell you, you know, this is what it means to be a, in my case, a gardener, right? And this is what gardeners do. And Oh my gosh, that's inappropriate and that's this. And we add all these meaning to all these different behaviors. And as a result, we complicate our life, and we make so much extra effort necessary in order for us to process everything that's out there. Did you know that there is no inherent meaning in a rock? I know a lot of people might want to extrapolate on a rock and create a poem about it or an ode and say that this is evidence of all the things and what this rocks existence means, all these other things. [12:29.2]

And you can do that in a Sherlock Holmes movie. And you can do that if you're looking for evidence of things and you're trying to create meanings and trails, and you're looking at stuff, but in the end, there is no existential its significance to a rock, not even to a huge cliff face. Some people may look at it and think it's there and it's so beautiful that clearly that must mean there's a God. I'm not taking away any of that, but I want you to note that the rockets existence is simply the rocks existence, and only humans are the ones that are running out, trying to make stories about what the rock is, so that they can have a different relationship to it. Now, maybe there are some social animals or more cognitively developed animals that do similar types of things. Definitely social animals have some levels of stress response and types of things in their system like baboons and whatnot. But overall humans are basically the only species that's busy running around, adding meaning to things. [13:19.8]

Every other species from plants and bugs to deer and jaguars and whatnot is simply accepting all that's there and taking actions and doing what they can. And if they don't work out okay, well, they didn't work out, but then they continue to work. And all the rest of us, the humans on the planet are busy adding meaning so that we can get ourselves to take actions because originally, we had a hard time doing it and there was meaning about that and all of this other stuff. Now I'm not suggesting that storytelling is bad or it's bad to write movies or read books or anything like that. I honestly don't know. Maybe those are the most evolved human activities on the planet. Maybe my hunch is that they were missing the point because we're busy rooting around in other people's brains instead of seeing the creator's creation. We're busy opting for our creation over that, which was created. We're busy saying, you know what, God, I know you've made this massive, vast whole universe, but I prefer the story in my head. Let me shut out all the details I can and only use the ones that helped me in my story, in my head. And because of our addiction to our own stories, because of our tendency to prefer what I think is happening over just paying attention and taking action. We end up having massive emotional experiences, huge traumas, huge breakdowns, PTSD, the works, all because we are busy making meaning. [14:44.0]

So, what do we do about that? Well, you know, there's not a lot to do, like immediately to stop that, other than to start to ask questions. This is what I have found to be the most helpful way of approaching it. It's too easy for someone to come up in your face and say, no, that's not right, that's not, what's really going on. But I find that when someone challenges me directly, that I tend to dig in my heels, and I tend to make more reasons for what's going on. And the funny thing about justification, but Bob, my stories are true. This really did happen once. The funny thing about justification like that, and I've used, I've done it plenty. I am guilty. Is that justification, if you win the argument, if your defense is good, then you just end up with more reasons to feel the same way. Do you want it? Do you want more reasons to feel the same way? Do you want to continue feeling and believing and seeing things the exact same way? Because if you do then justification is perfect. But if you don't, if you want a different experience of life, no amount of justifying your old life will get you a new experience of life. [15:45.2]

So, it doesn't matter how right you think you were. It doesn't matter how the events went down. It doesn't matter whether the other person was wrong or not. If you want a new experience of life, you have to sit down all the justification because your current experience is not something that you enjoy. So, if you want a different experience, that means you have to go do something different instead of digging in your heels and pretending that the way that you see the world and the meaning you've been adding to it is correct. Now let's take a look at my meditative experience, right? Oh my gosh, nothing ever works out for me. Is that really what was happening? If we were really to look at it on a video camera, you would see a guy, you know, frantically running around, breathing weird, kind of have the worried, look on his face and saying like, Oh, come on and some things like that to his electronics and finally sitting down and breathing. If we were to ask any outsider, what is actually happening at that point at most, they might say, well, there's been some electronic issues and then he figured it out. Then he had a hard time in the middle. [16:43.9]

But could we see, Oh my gosh, nothing for all of time and space in eternity is working out for this guy. Could we see any of that? No, cause that was my creation on the inside. And so, my way often, not always, but often of challenging those things is to simply ask myself the question, what is actually happening? I've told you this before on a different episode, when we're talking about the only two questions you need, right? What is actually happening right now, inside me and outside me. And once I've got that what do I want to do from here? Or another way of asking it, which is similar to kind of Byron Katie's in The Work. One of the questions she asks is like, is that actually true? Or is that actually happening? Or what if I'm wrong? But they're all questions you see. A question means I can hold onto it. I can still grab it. I can still say, yes, that's what's happening. But if I'm questioning it, it means I'm loosening the grip just a little bit so that I can have a clearer look around instead of someone trying to grab the ball out of my hand and I'm holding on tighter. Instead of saying, Hey, look, is that really a ball you want to hold? And then I'm like, well, I don't know. Let me look at it. And as I look at it, I might start to see some things and then I might naturally let go of it. [17:50.7]

Asking questions has been one of the most powerful ways that I've found to help release old stories better than challenging them betting better than even coming up with new interpretations though. Those are all very helpful and effective. Simply asking them as a question, am I sure that that's what's happening? And this way I can stop manipulating myself with meaning and with motivation and with all these other things, manipulating myself with emotions in order to get things done. Because in the end that's a lot of extra energy and I would rather have that energy for enjoying my life and playing with my kids and hobbies and things that I want instead of coming home from a workday and everything else and feeling like I just need to hide in a corner and sit down and just detox. But my detox is usually something else or at least it used to be. No, instead I would rather just have that energy and be able to take what action is needed without it being an emotional experience, because emotions are going to come on their own anyway. So, I don't need to sit there and conjure that. [18:52.2]

So, as we're wrapping up our talk around the ways that we manipulate ourselves, this little glimpse into my life, you know, I know it might not be something that you do, but consider what are the ways that you're manipulating yourself in your life? How many different ways do you try and get yourself? Like when you're in conversation with a friend, do you overdramatize things? Oh my gosh, this person was at the store the other day. And your facial expressions look like it's a horror film. And then you start talking about how they were walking around and what they were wearing and the kind of creepy feeling you had and whatnot, instead of simply telling the story. And then why were you telling the story? Was it to manipulate a certain kind of experience out of your friend's environment? Like, Oh my gosh, they'll commiserate with me and I'll get comfort. And I like feeling comfort among friends. This goes really far and wide, there's a lot of ways that we manipulate ourselves unconsciously. I don't think it's bad to use story and emotion in order to create consciously a certain kind of experience. But most of the time we don't realize we're doing it. And it's all of those unconscious times that are robbing you of the energy to go and enjoy the rest of your life. So today take a second and I give you permission, not that you need it, but I give you permission anyway to quit. Just not manipulating yourself, just stop having to have negative emotions in order to get yourself motivated. And to simply instead, just go do the thing that you've got to do. [20:08.7]

And that's it for todays “Alive and Free Podcast.” If you enjoyed this show and want some more freedom bombs landing in your ear buds, subscribe right now at wherever you get your podcasts from. And, while you're at it, give us a rating and a review. It'll help us keep delivering great stuff to you. Plus, it's just nice to be nice. [20:26.8]

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